Friday, November 30, 2007
As linguist George Lakoff points out in his landmark book Whose Freedom?, humans think with the synapses and neural circuitry of their brains, and that such circuits, "once established, do not change quickly or easily."
"When a word of phrase is repeated over and over for a long period of time, the neural circuits that compute its meaning are activated repeatedly in the brain," Lakoff analyzes. "As the neurons in those circuits fire, the synapses connecting the neurons in the circuits get stronger, and the circuits may eventually become permanent, which happens when you learn the meaning of any word in your fixed vocabulary. Learning a word physically changes your brain, and the meaning of that word becomes physically instantiated in your brain. For example, the word 'freedom,' if repeatedly associated with radical conservative themes, may be learned not with its traditional progressive meaning, but with a radical conservative meaning. 'Freedom' is being redefined brain by brain."
For those old enough to remember school desks made of wood, remember writing your name (or some other words) on them in ballpoint pen, then retracing the letters over and over until a permanent groove had been cut into the wood? Metaphorically, that's exactly what Lakoff is talking about.
The republicans do not want the fairness doctrine back. They are working to stop the democrats from passing a new one.
But it's the mounting fear among habitual on-air liars such as Sean Hannity, Rush Limbaugh, Bill O'Reilly and their ilk which brings us to the recent furor over claims that Democrats in Congress want to bring back the "Fairness Doctrine" ... and which inspired Rep. Mike Pence (R-Corporatocracy) to introduce H.R. 2905, the so-called "Broadcaster Freedom Act of 2007," which Pence has vowed to attach to other legislation if it doesn't pass on its own.The Act seems simple enough: "Notwithstanding section 303 or any other provision of this Act or any other Act authorizing the [Federal Communications] Commission to prescribe rules, regulations, policies, doctrines, standards, or other requirements, the Commission shall not have the authority to prescribe any rule, regulation, policy, doctrine, standard, or other requirement that has the purpose or effect of reinstating or repromulgating (in whole or in part) the requirement that broadcasters present opposing viewpoints on controversial issues of public importance, commonly referred to as the 'Fairness Doctrine', as repealed in General Fairness Doctrine Obligations of Broadcast Licensees, 50 Fed. Reg. 35418 (1985)
Look what republican Tony Perkins tells the liberals.
Historically, when the Fairness Doctrine was in effect, many stations chose to avoid issues programming altogether." Family Research Council's Tony Perkins stated bluntly, "If the left wants equal time to express its views on the radio or television, they have the liberty to do so by starting their own programs and shows."
Perhaps the liberals should start there own shows. Read the whole thing. Caution may not be work safe. It is from Adult Video News. Hat Tip to Avedon.
A great article about this trail in the Press-Enterprise about this trail. There are some very dedicated hikers on this trail.
It's considered one of the most difficult and dangerous hikes in Southern California because of the elevation gain and lack of shade and water. Also, temperatures on the desert floor in the summer can be 100 degrees higher than in the mountains in the winter.
Kaicener has hiked it 236 times. Sabia has hiked it 235 times. They are one-two in an unofficial competition for most trips up the trail. That's the equivalent of climbing Mount Everest almost 65 times or walking from Los Angeles to New York City.
There seem to be quite a few hiker rescued after getting lost on this trail because you can take a tramway up to the top. Hiking can be dangerous business.
When it enters Mount San Jacinto State Park, it is not maintained and therefore not a trail, said Jerry Frates, the park superintendent. In the summer, hikers are often unprepared for the heat and in the winter they are often not ready for ice at higher elevations, he said. As the trail has become more popular in recent years, at least two hikers have died and rescues have increased, he said. There were at least five helicopter rescues this summer, up from two or three last year, he said. "It's a very dangerous place to hike when you don't plan it or you haven't done it before," Frates said. Click through it is a good article with a nice little video too.
When it enters Mount San Jacinto State Park, it is not maintained and therefore not a trail, said Jerry Frates, the park superintendent.
In the summer, hikers are often unprepared for the heat and in the winter they are often not ready for ice at higher elevations, he said.
As the trail has become more popular in recent years, at least two hikers have died and rescues have increased, he said. There were at least five helicopter rescues this summer, up from two or three last year, he said.
"It's a very dangerous place to hike when you don't plan it or you haven't done it before," Frates said.
Click through it is a good article with a nice little video too.
Thursday, November 29, 2007
A booming wedding industry could swell Maryland's budget by millions if gays were permitted to wed, according to a university report released yesterday.
The study, by UCLA School of Law's Williams Institute on Sexual Orientation Law and Public Policy, estimates that spending on gay nuptials could top $280 million the first three years, generating $14 million in tax revenue during that time.
While the state would see some reductions in other tax revenue, including income, transfer and inheritance taxes, the study concludes that extending marriage benefits to gays could result in a net gain of $3.2 million a year.
I think the business side of this should be played up. It won't bring many people to our side, but it will bring some. It should be fun to watch the Maryland Legislature fight this one out.
Both sides of the debate are preparing for a battle in the General Assembly starting in January. In September, Maryland's highest court upheld the state law defining marriage as between a man and woman. Several lawmakers plan to push legislation to legalize same-sex marriage, while pledge to back a proposal to ban it in the state's constitution.
The Williams Institute report not only makes a fiscal argument for extending marriage rights to Maryland's growing number of same-sex couples. It also assumes state lawmakers will permit out-of-state residents to marry here. The study estimates that half of Maryland's 15,600 same-sex couples would marry, and that many more would flock here to tie the knot, tourism dollars in hand.
Wednesday, November 28, 2007
I am not sure why Pelosi took impeachment off the table.
Olbermann: “With or without this new law, suppose one of the anti-wiretapping civil lawsuits succeeds, what does that legal victory actually mean then in terms of stopping the government or punishing Alberto Gonzales or any other top officials who were responsible for this?”
Turley: “Well, it can mean a lot and that’s one of the reasons there’s a lot of people, both Democrats and Republicans, who don’t want to see it happen. They don’t want a court to say that the president did something that is a federal crime. That’s why they’re trying to get all these cases thrown out of court because it is rather clear that what the president ordered was a federal crime, clearly defined in federal law. But that causes a problem because many of the Democratic leaders and Republican leaders have promised each other that they would not start impeachment proceedings, but when a federal judge says the president committed a crime, it’s pretty darn hard to ignore that.”
Hops and barley production have been hit by poor growing conditions and a loss of acreage dedicated to the crops, according to the Brewers Association in Boulder, Colo.
Adding to the problem is the growing demand for biofuels, which takes corn away from livestock feed. That spurs farmers to tap barley for feed, reducing the amount available for breweries.
It seems biofuels are not only going to have a negative impact on developing nations but also beer drinkers at home.
Corn based biofuels are also very inefficient in terms of reducing green house gases.
ar from having a substantial impact on reducing net emissions of GHG, Wolf says, European rapeseed oil-based diesel and U.S. corn-based ethanol have in fact only made small contributions - 13% less than conventional diesel and 18% less than petrol, respectively. As we've argued at length in several past posts, most biofuel schemes would have a devastating impact on developing, food-importing countries:
FBI agents were called in. A seven member FBI evidence recovery team from Little Rock secured the scene and collected evidence.
Meantime, Hot Springs Police continue their investigation into the murders of two women. Both women were found last spring, along a creek in secluded locations off a stream that runs between Bald Knob Mountain Road and Westinghouse Drive.
He heard a crash, got knocked down and when he went to get back up, he went to look for his buddy and found his buddy underneath a tree with his head against a rock and no pulse, not breathing," said Frank Waterhouse of the Wild Basin Lodge.[...]
Officials from Rocky Mountain National Park say additional trees have fallen down due to high winds in the area.
"Winds are not uncommon, but the fact a tree has blown over and hit an individual is very rare indeed," said Larry Frederick of Rocky Mountain National Park.
My condolences to the family.
Tuesday, November 27, 2007
Picture of the Wild Basin Trail in Rocky Mountain National Park. A tree fell on a hiker in this area of the park today. I have seen a tree in the Rockies(not in the park though)and it is hard to describe the power and the fury of a large tree falling. It started with a few small cracklin' noises. Then a fury of cracks, a roaring crash, without time to react,the branches splintered and flew in a cloud of dust. My hopes and prayers go out to my fellow hiker.
In the original version of this story, Joe Klein wrote that the House Democratic version of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) would allow a court review of individual foreign surveillance targets. Republicans believe the bill can be interpreted that way, but Democrats don't.
That is not what Joe Klein actually wrote but lets see what the bill says.
(1) IN GENERAL - Notwithstanding any other provision of this Act, a court order is not required for electronic surveillance directed at the acquisition of the contents of any communication between persons that are not known to be United States persons and are reasonably believed to be located outside the United States for the purpose of collecting foreign intelligence information, without respect to whether the communication passes through the United States or the surveillance device is located within the United States.
See the bill says a court order is not required. Time apparently wants to paint the Democratic party as weak on terrorism, a wrong but ongoing republican theme.Now let us see what Glenn has to say.
So to Time, Klein's so-called "reporting" error" wasn't that he falsely described the bill. No; describing the bill accurately isn't the role of a journalist. Klein's only "reporting error" was that he only wrote down what one side said (the Republicans). He forgot to write down what the Democrats said. Now that the Editors noted that the Democrats disagree, everything is fixed. Their job is done. That's what they just said about explicitly as it can be said. And they don't even realize that saying this is a profound indictment on what they do. They think that's what they're supposed to do.
I can't recall a recent incident that has shone as much bright light on the ugly, vapid, propagandistic practices of our national media. The more they speak, the more they reveal what they are.
UPDATE: Stephen Colbert at the White House Correspondents' Dinner:But, listen, let's review the rules. Here's how it works: the president makes decisions. He's the Decider. The press secretary announces those decisions, and you people of the press type those decisions down. Make, announce, type. Just put 'em through a spell check and go home. Get to know your family again. Make love to your wife. Write that novel you got kicking around in your head. You know, the one about the intrepid Washington reporter with the courage to stand up to the administration. You know - fiction!So few of them thought that was funny because they thought he was describing what they really are supposed to do -- what they do actually do -- and what is funny about that? Just compare Colbert's description to Time's claimed understanding of what it is supposed to do.
A couple of other things that distinguish these two polls: The Zogby one is an online poll, a notoriously unreliable method, while the Gallup one is a telephone poll. And, as Charles Franklin of Pollster.com observed yesterday, the Zogby poll is completely out of sync with multiple other national polls finding Hillary with a lead over the GOP candidates. The Zogby poll actually found that Mike Huckabee is leading Hillary in a national matchup. The Gallup findings were in line with most other surveys.
I don't need to tell you which poll got all the media attention. Do I?
The Zogby survey was covered repeatedly on CNN, earned coverage from MSNBC, Fox News, and Reuters and was covered by multiple other smaller outlets.
Worse, the Zogby poll was covered with few mentions either of its dubious methodology or of the degree to which its findings don't jibe with other surveys. Bottom line: The Zogby poll was considered big news because many in the political press are heavily invested in the Hillary-is-unelectable narrative for all kinds of reasons that have little to do with a desire to, you know, practice journalism.
The result of all this "nosing around": "I've reached no conclusions." And he then unleashes this:I have neither the time nor legal background to figure out who's right.That's been the point all along (although one doesn't need "legal background" -- just basic reading skills and a molecule of critical thought).
It seems every week or so there is an article about how real journalism is better because of editors and publishers ensure that there is appropriate fact checking. So Jane over at Firedoglake decided to track down said editor.
I’ve spent all morning on the phone trying to figure out who the editor at Time Magazine was on Joe Klein’s FISA column (the one Klein has now written about five times, fully admitting he never read the original bill). I finally confirmed that the editor was Priscilla Painton, and called her and identified myself. I asked her what the editing process was, and how a piece with so many errors made it into print.
That assumes that there are errors,” she said. And hung up on me.
Digby has a nice article about said editor. Now Rep Rush Holt one of the authors of the bill gets into the act.
As one of the bill's authors, I want to set the record straight about what's in the RESTORE Act, why it's needed to safeguard Americans from unwarranted surveillance, and ultimately, why it will lead to better intelligence gathering.
In his original column, Mr. Klein incorrectly wrote, "Unfortunately, Speaker Nancy Pelosi quashed the House Intelligence Committee's bipartisan effort and supported a Democratic bill that - Limbaugh is salivating - would require the surveillance of every foreign-terrorist target's calls to be approved by the FISA court, an institution founded to protect the rights of U.S. citizens only." It contains no such provision.
Now Klein could have just called the congressman himself and asked or perhaps one of his staffers but did not. He has admitted getting his info from republican staffers. I guess Kein does not feel the need to fact check them.
Glenn gets to the heart of the matter here.
It isn't enough to issue some obscure, clouded "correction" which creates the false impression there is some good faith dispute over what the House Democrats' bill does and that Klein and Painton just became understandably confused about such complex legalistic issues, all accompanied by a self-justifying, shoulder-shrugging "Hey-everyone-makes-mistakes" tone. The real story here is that Joe Klein's GOP source(s) blatantly lied to him about what this bill does in order to scare Americans into supporting George Bush's demands for greater eavesdropping powers.
Neither Klein nor Painton bothered to verify whether anything they were told was true. Instead, they mindlessly printed it with an accompanying article smearing Democrats as weak on national security and concerned with Terrorists Rights at the expense of protecting Americans.In other words, the same corrupt propagandistic process that has driven so much of our reckless press coverage during the Bush presidency generated these outright falsehoods. How that happened and who was responsible -- as well as what Time's culpability is -- is the real story here. That is what Time has to answer. We ought to demand those answers from Stengel and Painton. It is flatly unacceptable to print outright lies as fact in order to mislead the country on such vital political matters and then refuse to account for what really happened.
Please read all the articles. It is important to understand where political stories and themes come about.
The New York Times has a Op-Ed by Stephanie Coontz today called "Taking Marriage Private"I thought was quite good go read it.
Around 11:00 a.m. Monday, the hiker went off the trail chasing a cat. The man discovered scattered bones, female clothing and other item around a ravine.
Scattered bones is just strange. It makes me think of bizarre occult rituals. Scary.
Monday, November 26, 2007
The unemployment rate in 1998 was only slightly lower than the unemployment rate today. But for working Americans, everything else was different. Wages were rising, yet inflation was low, so the purchasing power of workers’ take-home pay was steadily improving. So, too, were job benefits, including the availability of health insurance. And homeownership was rising steadily.
It was, in other words, a time when Americans felt they were sharing in the country’s prosperity.
Today, by contrast, wage gains for most workers are being swallowed by inflation. In fact, the reality for lower- and middle-income workers may be worse than the official statistics say, because the prices of necessities like food, transportation and medical care are rising considerably faster than the Consumer Price Index as a whole. One striking statistic: the cost of a traditional Thanksgiving turkey dinner was 11 percent higher this year than last year.
Go read the rest.
Sunday, November 25, 2007
In other words, Klein's GOP source(s) blatantly lied to him about what the bill does and doesn't do in order to manipulate him into uncritically feeding Time's readers the Rush Limbaugh Line -- namely, that Democrats are giving equal rights to Terrorists and preventing the Leader from eavesdropping on foreign Terrorists. And Klein dutifully wrote down what he was told in Time without bothering to find out if it was true and without ever bothering to talk to any of the bill's Democratic proponents.
What a republican tool.
That is the real story here. That's how our political system works. Scheming GOP operatives feed whispered lies to their favorite, most gullible, most slothful and/or dishonest Beltway journalists. Gleeful and grateful that they have been chosen for this dirty task, these journalists then scamper and write down what they were told and think that, by doing so, they are engaged in what they call "original reporting" -- which means uncritically passing on what they're told by government sources. As a result, they continue to obfuscate every key political issue and mislead Americans by doing the opposite of what journalists are supposed to do.
Read the rest.
There is an article in the Herald-Mail in Hagerstown Md, entitled "At Dolly Sods Beware the Plethodon Nettingi" The picture above is the dreaded plethodon nettingi. Lyn Widmyer ends with this graph:
I can deal with bears and mortar shells, but please, I prayed, don't let me wake up in the middle of the night with a Cheat Mountain Salamander in my sleeping bag.
I do not know about you but I am not worried about a salamander.
Saturday, November 24, 2007
Friday, November 23, 2007
I met Scott at Crater Lake National Park, on my thru hike in2004. We had breakfast at Bascom Lodge. He was on his first successful yoyo of the PCT. He was very unassuming, laid back, and down right nice. Most of the hikers I have met that due big miles have big egos. Scott said he never did big days. Just thirty five miles a day.It was not cocky or any thing. Just a matter of fact. After breakfast he ate every bodies left over butter and did shots of syrup too. You really need calories to due those thirty five mile days.
Thursday, November 22, 2007
Tuesday, November 20, 2007
The shocking results of the paternity test are speeding up a transformation already under way in the church after more than a decade of sex scandals and lawsuits involving the Paulks, D.E. Paulk said.
Senecal said hypothermia resulted from the combination of snowy conditions, dropping temperatures and the hiker's clothes being wet from sweat.
"This is just a warning that people need to be prepared and take the proper clothing," he said.
I do not know if he was actually wearing cotton but the expression has truth to it in certain situations.
Sunday, November 18, 2007
The Church is going mainstream. I am surprised there is not a FSM pool at flickr.
Indeed, the tale of the Flying Spaghetti Monster and its followers cuts to the heart of the one of the thorniest questions in religious studies: What defines a religion? Does it require a genuine theological belief? Or simply a set of rituals and a community joining together as a way of signaling their cultural alliances to others?
The backpacking world is pretty small. There just are not that many of us but the world of politics is huge. Imagine my surprise when the two worlds collided this morning. I was reading at this at the Carpetbaggers Place and who should show up in an article but Baltimore Jack Tarlin.
Jack Tarlin, an independent voter, stood and told McCain that the polls show he would have the best chance of any of the Republican candidates to beat Clinton. “The news isn’t getting out right now,” he told McCain. “We don’t have a whole lot of time left till January.”
The Chicago Tribune's Jill Zuckerman thinks this might be a planted question like the one Hillary got caught with the other day. I think the Carpetbagger is pretty astute here:
Zuckman seemed skeptical, which is perfectly understandable given the circumstances. But I can’t help but wonder: maybe a lot of Republican audiences are just naturally sycophantic?
I have met Jack and he is a McCain supporter. I can tell you he is working to get McCain elected. To be clear, he is not working for McCain. He most likely wanted advise to help McCain win the primaries. I sent a link of the swampland article to him. I would like to see his reaction to this speculation.
Friday, November 16, 2007
e age group most affected by chlamydia and gonorrhea is 15 to 19 year olds, followed by 20 to 24 year olds.It seems that abstinence only for the past seven years is paying dividends.
Thursday, November 15, 2007
Obama also had a moment when he went after Blitzer over his constant invocation of the presumption that no significant problems can ever be solved. But it was too fleeting.S#%t he should have told him off but it was nice to see Obama call Blitzer out. Matt says what I think about Blitzer, but politely:
Wolf Blitzer's main interest is in asking questions designed to put Democrats on the wrong side of public opinion,Oh it gets better
The point, after all, is to force a choice -- piss off an interest group, or say something that could be used in a GOP attack ad.Josh has some of Wolf's questions at the end of his post that are just wrong.
Those last two questions are not asked to help the public make informed decisions. They are gotcha questions.
1. Do you believe there are any times when abortion is killing a baby? Yes or No?
2. If a million people die in the next 9/11, would you be willing to chill out about torture? Yes or no?
Wednesday, November 14, 2007
I hiked with Don Quixote In "06 on the AT. Don was fun to talk with incredibly bright and awry sense of humor. He is an Englishman, not British.I remember on the 4th of July he told me" It's not to late to come back to the commonwealth. All is forgiven. "
drinkers were more likely to rate someone of the opposite sex as attractive."Charlie you British chaps are alright . You drink enough beer and you will sleep with women."
Tuesday, November 13, 2007
Would I like Iran to have a nuclear bomb? No," said Robert Jervis , a Columbia University professor of international politics who has written widely on nuclear deterrence. But, "the fears (voiced) by the administration and a fair number of sensible people as well, just are exaggerated. The idea that this will really make a big difference, I think is foolish."Go read the whole thing.
Even some commentators in Israel , whose leaders see themselves in Iran's crosshairs, present a more nuanced view of the potential threat than the White House does.
Monday, November 12, 2007
But West Africa bucks that trend, particularly with a much higher incidence of fraternal, or non-identical twins than inor . That is especially true, experts say, amongst Nigeria's Yoruba community which is largely concentrated in the southwestern part of the country where Igbo-Ora is located.
Overall, almost 5 percent of all Yoruba births produce twins, the Belgian study said, compared with just around 1.2 percent for Western Europe and 0.8 percent for Japan -- although fertility drugs in the developed world are changing those figures.
And the portable gadget, which has a cooling capacity almost four times that of regular ice with the advantage that it doesn't water down your drink, could spell the end of lugging a heavy chilly bin to the beach.
When I was on the PCT, the Germinator was rescued by a helicopter. The first thing the rescue officer said was there would be no charge for the helicopter. The first thing the Germanator said was he would walk because he did not want to pay for the helicopter.
Update: Nacona's journal of the day the Germanator was rescued.
Sunday, November 11, 2007
Saturday, November 10, 2007
A wildlife biologist atmost likely died from the plague contracted while performing a necropsy on a mountain lion that later tested positive for the disease, officials said Friday.
Yellowstone may blow.
A big blob of molten rock appears to be pushing up remnants of an ancient volcano in Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming, scientists reported on Friday.Things are not going well in Afghanistan or Iraq this year.
The six deaths brings the number of U.S. troops killed in Afghanistan this year to at least 101, according to an Associated Press count, surpassing the 93 troops killed in 2005. About 87 died last year. The toll echoes the situation in Iraq, where U.S. military deaths this year surpassed 850, also a record.We are having a hard time keeping our children alive.
The United States ranks near the bottom for infant survival rates among modernized nations.
Friday, November 09, 2007
Thursday, November 08, 2007
The nation’s top official for consumer product safety has asked Congress in recent days to reject legislation intended to strengthen the agency, which polices thousands of consumer goods, from toys to tools.This summer I remember reports of lead paint in children's toys,nasty stuff in toothpaste. Now this:
WASHINGTON - Millions of Chinese-made toys for children have been pulled from shelves in North America and Australia after scientists found they contain a chemical that converts into a powerful "date-rape" drug when ingested.They just do not want anything to get in the way of there corporate profits. Children's health is just not important to Republicans. Go read the first article. Guess how many inspectors there are for all those Chinese toys and everybody else's toys. Or you can find out at the end of this video
Tuesday, November 06, 2007
or the first time, about $2 billion to support “specialty crops” — farm-bill-speak for the kind of food people actually eat.Man do we have our priorities wrong in this country. Coke is the same price as water because of the subsidies.
On Oct. 6, Cargill voluntarily recalled more than 840,000 pounds of ground beef patties distributed at Sam's Club storesThis is just small potatoes compared to the Topps recall in September
Monday, November 05, 2007
n 1994 there were 234,000 acres in the world, last year there were 113,000, this year there's 118,000 - that should say it right there," said Olson.It seem from the article that hops production is up from last year.
The only thing we've had to change is now we have to secure an annual inventory," rather than just phoning suppliers when necessary, he said. "A lot's changed on the logistic front on how we're looking to get hops in the futureMaybe this will be a good thing if small breweries start working with small organic farms to ensure a supply of hops.
Saturday, November 03, 2007
I first met Lion King in 1998 while I was hiking south and he was going north. He is a very memorable character . I most recently saw him at this years ALDHA gathering. He made a pretty good movie about the Appalachian Trail, Walking with Freedom.